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Thursday, April 30, 2009

How To Avoid Swine Flu

Avoid The Flu Via A Folding Bike and Mask
by Larry Lagarde

According to the Center For Disease & Control (CDC), the Swine Flu epidemic is something we all need to "pay attention and plan ahead" for. But how exactly?

One minute Vice President Biden is telling people not to fly or take mass transit (see video below).

Then, in the blink of an eye, official White House spin meister (Press Secretary) Robert Gibbs says flying, etc. is safe...

The issue with the new Swine Flu is that no one has antibodies yet to fight it off. As a result, more people that are exposed to it are likely to get the flu.

For most that catch the Swine Flu, it will mean nothing more than being sick a few days and thus missing work or school. But who wants to be sick if they can avoid it?

Frankly, I agree with the Vice President. If you don't need to, avoid confined places where you'll be sharing air with a lot of other people (commercial planes, subways, buses, etc.). If you NEED to be in those places, minimize your time in those confined spaces. For example...

- Take the bus or subway for a shorter distance, riding a bike the rest of the way so you're not in the bus/subway as long.

- Instead of taking a crowded elevator up/down a few flights, take the stairs.

If you're concerned about problems taking a standard, full size bike on the bus or subway, get a folding bike. Folding bikes that are suitable for commuting can be as economical as $159. When folded, some folding bikes are so small that they'll fit beneath your desk or the seat on the subway. Some mass transit authorities do require folding bikes to be bagged though.

Worried about being exposed to the Swine Flu?

Buy an E-Z Pack or Kent folding bike with a carry bag and I'll include 5 N95 masks with your purchase. Offer is good through the end of May 2009.

Staying Healthy - Tips From The CDC:
Here are things you can do to lessen your chances of getting the flu:
- Wash your hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hands cleaners.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
- Limit your exposure to crowds, especially in confined spaces (bus, plane, train, movie theater, classroom, restaurant, etc.).
- Pay attention to public health warnings.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

IF MODE Shipping Update

by Larry Lagarde

Yesterday, I received confirmation that the first shipment of highly anticipated IF MODE folding bikes is almost here.

I expect to have the IF MODE bicycles on or about May 5th.

If you've been waiting for the MODE bikes to arrive and are feeling a bit impatient, perhaps this new IF MODE slideshow may help. These are recent photos of the IF MODE that were posted on the Pacific Cycles website. Most are from the recent Taipei Bike Show. Enjoy.

By the way, I expect to revise the pricing on the IF MODE order page on Friday. From that point on, instead of charging a deposit, the full amount will be due.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

M Ferber Wins Free Bike Giveaway

by Larry Lagarde

Yesterday was the final day to vote on who should receive a new E-Z Pack folding bike absolutely free through the RideTHISbike.com Folding Bike Giveaway. Gladly, the consensus was clear. With a huge margin of votes in her favor, M. Ferber of Burlington, Vermont won the folding bike.

I called Mrs. Ferber to personally give her the news and she was quite excited. She had been looking at bicycles that fold for some time now but could not make up her mind which bike to go with. I suppose the contest solved that problem. ;-)

Mrs. Ferber has offered to send us a photo of her with the bike and to let everyone know what she thinks of her new E-Z Pack folder. Since the bike will be shipping out tomorrow, perhaps we'll be able to post her photo or review within the next two weeks. Stay tuned.

Being that today is Earth Day, it is my sincere hope that this contest has helped to inspire awareness and appreciation for our planet's environment. Riding a bicycle will not solve all the world's problems; however, a bike is a viable transportation option for many trips people make by car.

With her new E-Z Pack folding bike, M. Ferber will be able to run errands by bike, riding right up to the door of the supermarket, post office, bank, etc. In less than the time it would take to lock up a standard bicycle (or park & get out of a car), Mrs. Ferber can fold her light, 22.5 lb E-Z Pack and carry it inside, placing it in the grocery basket with plenty of room to spare for groceries. No more pumping gas. No more polluting the environment. No more parking citations, moving violations, vehicular taxes or worries concerning vandals or thieves. She'll be fitter, stronger and (hopefully) happier too. All because of something as simple as a bicycle. Pretty cool, huh.

Can you use a practical bike like the E-Z Pack?
In honor of Earth Day, between now and Sunday, enter coupon code EarthDay09 when ordering any folding bike online at RideTHISbike.com and you'll receive 10% off of your purchase. Although it's not a free bike, our everyday prices are very reasonable so this makes a good deal even better. The coupon does expire this Sunday (April 26, 2009) so act now before it's gone.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mini 8 Folding Bike

Riding the Mini 8 Folding Bike in New OrleansRiding In A Congested Urban Environment

By Larry Lagarde

On Friday, I posted an introductory video depicting the Mini 8 micro folder's key features. Some readers that saw the video wanted to know how the Mini 8 rides on rough streets.

To determine the Mini 8's handling under the less than pristine conditions of a typical urban environment, I took the prototype adult micro folding bike on a short ride in the heart of New Orleans. I rode on streets bustling with cars, sidewalks filled with strolling pedestrians and over a variety of riding surfaces. My impressions and a ride description follow.
NOTE: Street photos are from Google Street View; click on any photo to enlarge.

How The Bike Handled
In general, outfitted with low pressure tires, rear suspension and having a low cruising speed by design, the Mini 8 handled the conditions quite well. The bike is light, small & nimble enough to avoid many obstacles; however, I would not want to encounter one of New Orleans' famous car killing potholes on it.

The Ride
I started out around 4:30pm on Fulton Street, a side street just a block from the New Orleans Convention Center. As I rode in the direction of Canal St, the pavement was smooth, there was no traffic and the riding was easy at @ 9 mph.

Approaching Harrah's Casino, Fulton St's pavement turns to cobblestones with wide brick sidewalks. When I rode on the cobblestones; I dropped my pace to @ 7 mph & rode with both hands on the handlebars. Then my cell phone rang.

I moved to the brick sidewalk which was fairly smooth and took the call. It was AreaWare, the US distributor for Strida calling with some product news so I ended up holding the phone to my ear for almost the rest of the ride.

The last block of Fulton St is a busy pedestrian promenade flanked by hotels on both sides, a beer garden (Gordon Biersch) and Harrah's Casino at the end. There were lots of people walking but the easy pace of the Mini 8 made navigating through easy and fun.

Crossing Poydras Street was interesting. It was quitting time so traffic was heavy with commuters, taxis and buses. I opted for riding the sidewalk next to Harrah's Casino. As I got closer to Canal St, I moved into the street (just too many pedestrians). The stoplight at Canal St was red so I cycled to the front of the right lane of cars. When the light changed, I crossed.

Cruising now at @ 10 mph, I crossed the steel streetcar tracks that are embedded in the pavement of the Canal St median (we call it a Neutral Ground here), briefly putting my hand with the phone to the other handlebar to steady the bike.

Once I crossed Canal, I was in the French Quarter. With Canal Place looming above my head, I eventually moved closer to the gutter to allow impatient drivers to steer clear. This is where my ride peaked out at @ 11 mph.

Just before the Jax Brewery shopping mall, I turned right towards the Mississippi River so I could ride on the Woldenberg Park promenade along the riverfront. Just before entering Woldenberg Park, there are some streetcar tracks as well as railroad tracks. I slowed to @ 3 mph to cross the tracks and entered the park.

Woldenberg was full of groups of walkers. I rode at a leisurely pace of @ 5-6 mph to admire the river view and to negotiate through all the people.

Woldenberg ends at the Canal St ferry landing. I biked alongside the Aquarium of the Americas and then crossed the railroad and streetcar light rail tracks. I took the tracks again at about 3 mph. It was really bumpy over the tracks but there was no need to dismount and I continued riding.

The street running between the World Trade Center and Harrah's Casino AND Convention Center Blvd. can both be a zoo with cars careening/zooming past so I rode the sidewalk. Crossing Poydras St. at the Hilton Riverside, all the taxi drivers waiting for fares stopped talking as I rode past, staring with looks of "what was that" in their eyes.

I rode on the Convention Center's brick and concrete sidewalk @ 8 mph. There are several driveways cut into the sidewalk so taxis, light delivery trucks, etc. can attend to the needs of conventioneers. There are also columns supporting the Convention Center in the sidewalk so I zig-zagged some and rode up/down the pavement cuts.

I dismounted from the bike once (so that I could walk up the steps rather than take the longer handicap ramp into Woldenberg Park) and rode mostly with just one hand on the handlebars. My speed was never higher than 11 mph but I didn't break a sweat and was talking on the phone much of the time.

Assuming you're within the bike's weight & height capacities, the Mini 8 is a good match for short distance rides in a paved, congested, urban environment. If you live a few blocks from the bus, subway, etc., this bike is a good choice for multi-modal transportation. It's very compact so it's easy to take aboard. You can simply fold the pedals and roll it down a hallway or carry it (folded or unfolded) up a flight of stairs. It's pace will not leave you winded or sweating. You can ride in areas with many people walking and can cycle around them without scaring anyone.


Friday, April 17, 2009

IF MODE Folding Bikes In Route

Exciting news concerning the IF MODE folding bikes:
They're Coming.

by Larry Lagarde

After many months of waiting, I received confirmation today that the IF MODE full size folding bicycles are en route to the USA. I am told that the bikes should be here on or before May 15th, 2009. Hooray :-)

Even Better News: The Price Is Dropping!
Although Pacific says world demand for the MODE is off the charts, they have agreed to reduce the price on the MODE by $250 to $2329. Whether it's due to reduced production costs or that they simply don't want bad karma (from appearing to be gouging on the price), I don't know. Regardless the reason, I'm happy to pass this reduction on to you.

Fair Warning
Most of the IF MODE allotment has been pre-sold, if you want one, act soon. They'll all be sold before the shipment arrives.


New Folding Bike Video

Mini 8 Prototype Micro Folder

by Larry Lagarde

This is a video I shot yesterday of the soon to be released Mini 8 adult folding bike.

Designed for short jaunts on smooth pavement and to be easy to store or carry, the Mini 8 micro folding bicycle rides on low pressure 8" balloon tires. With a short wheelbase, long folding handlebar stem and seat post, this folding bike's footprint is so compact it could fit in a gym bag.

Designed for very short commutes of no more than a few miles, you can cruise on the Mini 8 in coat and tie at about 7 mph without breaking a sweat. Bursts up to 11 mph are possible but that will likely leave you panting.

Since the aluminum frame does not fold, the frame flex you'll experience on some other folding bikes is not an issue on the Mini 8. This is not a bike for a tall person though. If you're over 5' 11", this bike is not for you.

Despite it's slow speed, it was a lot of fun riding the Mini 8 in the New Orleans French Quarter. People of all ages smiled and wanted to talk with me about the bike. One man commented that the bike would be perfect for fighting obesity. I have no idea though what the bike's carry capacity will be.

Priced at $199, the Mini 8 folding bike is being produced now and the bike will be shipping soon.

Mini 8 folding bike specs & order info

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Montague DX Video

by Larry Lagarde

Here's a brief, introductory style video I shot today of the Montague DX folding bike.

The DX is the most economical full size bike from Montague. It incorporates the same patented folding mechanism as all other Montague products (including the SwissBike line). As a result, this folding bicycle is far more sturdy than full size bikes of a similar price from other manufacturers.

Whereas most bicycles by Montague are mountain bikes, the Montague DX is better suited for riding on pavement. The tires on the DX are more narrow and the bike offers no suspension. As a result, it's faster and requires less effort to propel; however, you'll feel bumps and potholes more.

Specs on the Montague DX (including pricing, optional accessories & order info) are available via the following link:
Montague DX Info

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Help New Orleans Via Bicycling

by Larry Lagarde

If you're visiting New Orleans soon for French Quarter Fest, JazzFest or simply to enjoy our awesome Springtime weather, here's a thought:

Take the money it would cost to rent a bicycle or car for your visit and buy a bike instead from RideTHISbike.com. When you're done with the bike, we'll make it a snap to donate your bike to a worthy local non-profit that's looking to make New Orleans greener and more environmentally sustainable.

Most major New Orleans tourism destinations are clustered within easy bicycling range of one another. As a result, if you're in the French Quarter, Downtown, Warehouse District, Marigny, etc., chances are you'll get around faster on a bicycle than you could driving a car or taking a taxi.

By donating your bike at the end of your visit, you can help a variety of charitable, non-profit organizations that are working hard to improve life in New Orleans. In fact, here's how one non-profit plans to use bikes to fulfill a core mission.

Green Light New Orleans
Green Light installs modern compact fluorescent lighting (CFL's) in homes free of charge. To date, they've removed over 150,000 incandescent lights, eliminating @ 60 million kilowatt hours of electric consumption at a savings of $7 million.

To make their CFL light bulb program even greener, Green Light wants volunteers to ride adult folding trikes to install CFL's. Our folding tricycles are ideal because they have a low center of gravity, making them very stable even when the rear basket is loaded with CFL's. Since the trikes fold compactly, they take up less room in Green Light's cramped warehouse too.

Several other non-profits have expressed interest in accepting JazzFest bikes as donations. Look for more about their plans for donated bicycles later this week.

Per Mandy Decker with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, bike racks will be available at both the Gentilly & Savage Street gates to JazzFest.

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Air Canada Clings Stubbornly To Bike Tax

Claims All Bikes Need Special Handling
by Larry Lagarde

Last month, I invited Air Canada to explain why they charge a $50 handling fee (each way) for baggage that meets their dimensional and weight standards for checked baggage but contains a folding bike. Although Air Canada has not replied directly to me, RideTHISbike.com reader L. Goddyn writes that he got a reply. By the looks of that reply, it appears that more cyclists need to voice their disgust with the airline's policy as Air Canada appears unwilling to change it.

Here's what L. Goddyn wrote:
Below is what Air Canada answered to my complaint about extra charges for a boxed collabsible bike. Pretty weak reply, in my view. They have invited me to respond to their message. I am not sure what to say now, except that:

I would hope that AC does not consider a bike-in-a-box to be the most fragile item that people put into checked luggage.

L. Goddyn

-----------Begin Air Canada Response----

Folding bike charges

Discussion Thread
Response (Susan Rabbitte) - 04/09/2009 12:34 PM Thank you for your email.

Our checked baggage policy for bicycles applies to all bicycles. Bikes are handled with special care to protect them from damage, regardless if they are collapsible or not. Exceptions are not made for specific brands or container types.

We invite you to learn more on our website at:

We look forward to serving you soon.

Customer Relations

In my initial story on this issue, I covered why cyclists have legitimate reason to be upset about this senseless, inconsistent and obnoxious Air Canada policy. Most striking of all is the special handling that Air Canada claims is needed for any bike. That's hogwash. Many folding bike users fly with their folding bikes stored in regular, every day luggage without the airline's knowledge. Although those bikes fly without benefit of Air Canada's "special handling," they arrive without damage...

If you're displeased with Air Canada's bag policy concerning bikes, I cannot stress enough the importance of informing them how you feel. With so many folding bike users being flyers, no airline in their right mind would tell a significant segment of their market to take a hike. Right?

Complain To Air Canada

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Strida SX Folding Bike - Photos & Specs

Strida SX folding bike

The New, Faster STRiDA
by Larry Lagarde

Strida SX folding bikeStrida SX folding bikeFollowing is the latest on the new 18" Strida SX folding bike. Essentially, this bike has the features of the cream colored Strida 5.0 (leather saddle and hand grips) but with larger wheels, higher pressure tires and a higher gear ratio for better speed and performance.

Strida SX folding bikeStrida SX folding bikeMade from lightweight, rustproof aluminum, the STRiDA SX weighs 22 lbs and folds in 5 seconds. Like all other STRiDA models, the SX utilizes a clean and quiet Kevlar belt instead of the traditional greasy and noisy metal chain. With an upright riding position and solid center of gravity, the STRiDA offers an ergonomic ride.

Strida SX folding bikeNotable features of the Strida SX:
* Curved forward handlebars
Greater stability. More leg clearance. Easier on long arms.

* 18" Wheels & _ PSI Schwalbe tires
Strida SX folding bikeWith decreased rolling resistance and a higher gear ratio (60 gear inches), this Strida is significantly faster than the standard Strida 5.0. You'll cruise at 14-15 mph with bursts much higher.

* Leather Spring Saddle & Leather Grips
Strida SX folding bikeClassic English styling. More comfortable yet durable too.

* Color: Matt Black

* Price: $950
(Yes, it's pricey but this is due to a very limited production)

* Availability: Mid May

Strida SX folding bikeWith demand high for all things Strida and only 100 Strida SX folding bikes being allocated for the US market for the season, the SX will sell out quickly. If you want one, I'll have an order page for the SX up by later this week. If you prefer not to wait, feel free to place your order now by phone.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Info Wanted - Bridgestone Folding Bikes

RideTHISbike.com reader R. Juniper is looking for more info concerning a Bridgestone folding bike that he now owns. He writes...
I am the owner of a Bridgestone Folding Bicycle. Don't know too much about it, so, I'm looking to someone for help.

Serial No. F231311, I think this number is the production number 3032, and a model Picnica, 3 speed, made in Japan. Very nice folding bicycle, easy riding, very good for a man of my age.

Any help you can give me would be most appreciated, date of manufacturer/year, etc, etc. One small feature is it has the generator mounted near the rear wheel for the head and tail lights. Can't find anything on Google about this model, except for minor details which are of no help.
If anyone has more info, feel free to post a comment.


Free Bike Giveaway - Voting Begins

by Larry Lagarde

Yesterday was the last day to enter the free folding bike giveaway so I created the voting ballot this morning and just mailed the ballots to everyone that registered to vote. Now, we'll wait for the votes to begin trickling back.

Since there are only 12 entrants, the odds of winning are 1 in 12 which is pretty exceptional. No doubt, the entrants will be very excited by this but with each story entry running well under the 1500 word limit, the judges are breathing a sigh of relief too. As a result, voting could proceed quickly.

Given the daily barrage of negative economic news on television, radio and in print, if participation in this contest is any gauge of the economy, I have to wonder whether the media has been hyping the downturn in a disgusting attempt to recapture market share.

Think about it.
Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Hulu and more are making mainstream media irrelevant. Newspapers are closing because their circulations are in free fall. Why take the time to post a classified ad in print when Craigslist is free, immediate and viewed by far more people? So many television viewers are flocking to Hulu that the broadcasting industry estimates that add revenue will be insufficient to support programming within 10 years...

No doubt, this recession has resulted in a lot of pain and fear - a fact that must be addressed seriously and considerately (and is the reason why I did the contest in the first place). All the same, this is no Great Depression. The world is a far different place than it was almost 100 years ago.

So perhaps it's time to focus more on the simple pleasures of life and less on the news. Take my advice. Walk away from your computer screen. Go outside. Soak up that wonderful Spring air and go for a bike ride! You owe it to you.

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Free Bike Contest Entries Due TODAY

by Larry Lagarde

Want to win a new bicycle absolutely free?
Well, you better hurry.

Today is the last day to enter the giveaway for a free folding bike. The rules are simple - just write in your own words why you deserve the bike and email your entry to the email address at the bottom of this page.

Anyone can vote to determine the winner of the folding bicycle. If you want to vote, register here.

Free Bicycle Giveaway Contest Rules

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Folding Bike Giveaway - Contestant 12

Folding Bike Contestant A. Brewer's Story

Here's the entry from Contestant # 11 in the folding bike giveaway - A. Brewer of Wellston, OH:
I would love to win this for my daughter. She would love to have a new bike specially one like this. She is wanting to try the stunts on them. She is young but tall and skinny and I think that the path she wants as a bicyclist is great. She wants a good one but honestly with my husbands hours cut when I saw this I thought why not try. I am sure I am not the one with the saddest story but I just know mine is true.
Does A. Brewer deserve to win the folding bike? You be the judge. Sign up to vote & we'll email you a ballot on April 7th.


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Friday, April 03, 2009

Last Call To Enter Free Bike Giveaway

by Larry Lagarde

How'd you like a new bike delivered to your door absolutely FREE?

If so, this is the last weekend to enter our free bike giveaway. Simply convince the judges that you're the most deserving candidate and the bike is yours. To make your case, write in explaining why you deserve the bike. That's it.

So what are you waiting for??? Enter NOW.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Cycling To Work Cuts Sick Time

by Larry Lagarde

Commute by folding bikeA recent study in the Netherlands showed that bicycle commuters take fewer sick days than workers that commute by other means.

According to the Dutch Secretary of State for the Ministry of Transport, 27 million Euros (@ $36 million US) could be saved in Holland alone simply by employers encouraging their employees to bicycle to work.

Unlike the USA, compact & flat Holland is one of the world's most bicycle friendly nations, with lots of bike lanes a culture that endorses cycling and plenty of supporting bicycle infrastructure. Still, with the USA having almost 20 times the population of the Netherlands, it's reasonable to assume that a similar or better savings would result from US employers encouraging their workers to commute by bike.

By the way, similar studies in other countries point to the same conclusion. In Transport Canada's webpage on Links between Public Health and Sustainable and Active Transportation, it's noted that the Canadian Medical Association Journal estimates the cost of physical inactivity at $5.3 billion/year...

TNO Study "Bicycling Reduces Sickness Absence In Netherlands"


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